The pressures of COVID and advancements in B2C omnichannel practices are pushing B2B suppliers to take a more customer-centric approach in their marketing.
Multichannel marketing means reaching out to the audience via multiple channels, each channel having its own strategy and data, with the brand at the core. Omnichannel marketing extends beyond that and focuses on personalization, factoring in the buyer's different devices, behaviors, and preferences to deliver a seamless and consistent experience across a variety of communication channels most appropriate for your sales lead.
A full 85% of business buyers say they put the same emphasis on flawless engagement as they do on product quality. However, cross-device shopping via a wide range of channels has made it difficult for companies to maintain consistency. Only 14% of organizations say they are successfully running coordinated marketing campaigns.
SMS, messenger apps, and phone calls are increasing in preference throughout the purchase journey: More than three-quarters of buyers vary the channels they use. Considering that 77% of B2B customers are willing to spend $50,000 or more through remote sales, optimizing a website for SEO and having a LinkedIn account is no longer enough.
Reaching audiences requires marketing efforts on all available channels. At the same time, it requires personalization to the highest degree possible.
B2B businesses are leaning toward an omnichannel future
A "rule of thirds" has emerged, dividing sales into traditional, remote, and self-service channels (from in-person meetings, videoconferencing, and digital portals, respectively), and an even mix of use throughout each stage of the sales process. B2B customers want the option to use each channel (traditional, remote, and self-serve) at any stage of their purchase journey (e.g., evaluating new suppliers, purchasing, and repurchasing).
B2B customers now regularly use 10 or more channels to interact with suppliers, so it's important the journey be fluid and the message advance in each new engagement. Rather than repeating the same interaction on a new channel, integrating the data across all departments would allow the sales development team, for example, to instantly see the buyer has already shown an interest in your product via the website. In turn, that team can send a follow-up promotion in a live chat asking whether the buyer needs any more information on the specific product. That might lead to a videoconference about the product benefits, or even a direct purchase.
That level of personalization is greatly increasing customer satisfaction. B2B and B2C companies with robust omnichannel strategies retain 89% of their customers, compared with 33% in the case of companies that have weak omnichannel customer engagement.
By engaging with buyers through their preferred channels, suppliers are able to reach them at any time, any place, at the convenience of the customer.
How can an omnichannel strategy be implemented?
Personalization is referred to so often in marketing that it has almost become a cliché, but it is crucial for a successful omnichannel marketing strategy. A thorough understanding of your market segments will underpin that.
Channel preferences and behaviors will vary depending on buyers and their lifecycle stage. Cultural and regional differences will also have an impact on a channels' adoption. For example, SMS marketing might be a suitable communication tool for Central and Eastern Europe customers, whereas those in Northern Europe might not take too kindly to it.
Creating concise goals, doing research, and trend-forecasting to understand what resonates with your customer will enable you to design a clear map of your customer journey. For example, you may find that customers reach out to you via Facebook and then transition to email for more formal details.
However, not every website visitor or subscriber has the same touchpoints to your business. New and current customers will look for information in different places. In an email newsletter, the new customer wants to know what you offer compared with your competitors. On the other hand, a customer who has already purchased a brand's software will be more interested in product updates and best-practices.
By collecting data on website visitors' location and source, you can categorize the leads and their purchase intentions before contacting them with a newsletter or offer. Synchronized tagging infrastructure across your channels (e.g., email, website, and messenger apps) will help keep your data organized and lead to more specialized reporting. Tags, custom fields, and website events can collect information on buyer behavior, interest, and intent to improve communication in the right place for the buyer.
Tags can also mark leads according to where those leads are in the customer journey (e.g., MQLs, SQLs, current customers) so that Sales always knows the consumer history and can personalize pitches based on the segments created.
Submission Technology, for example, uses contact list segmentation and regular A/B-testing to check what really resonates with specific groups of contacts. The company's data-driven approach allows it to learn from each campaign and continuously improve email marketing outcomes, resulting in a deliverability rate of 99.2%.
Customers need to be segmented based on age, location, signup preferences, product features, and engagement. Recording all interactions with visitors allows trained algorithms to analyze the buyer's characteristics and provide such information with ease.
Integrate data for a seamless omnichannel experience
When each department focuses on its own targets, the need for a central platform—delivering automated notifications across teams—grows. Such a platform registers the landing page a visitor lands on, distributes contact details into the contact list after newsletter signup, and helps team members keep the overview over multiple channels.
By choosing a Marketingwide automation platform with a common user interface and seamless data sharing across departments, marketers can create a single digital workspace to handle all their channel needs for greater productivity and results. Focusing all data in one place allows for deeper reporting, workload tracking, and data visibility, governed by configurable roles and permissions.
Are emails being opened? Is there a pattern in the location of ads selected? What product pages are being viewed on the website? The level of touchpoints and the amount of customer data to manage is proliferating. Large enterprises can become stagnant as they have known their customers for years. However, customer habits are continuously changing, and the scale of change dramatically increased after the global pandemic.
Audits and external reviews provide fresh eyes, whereas increased synchronization between departments and the data they hold is vital. To stay ahead, teams need to be united more than ever and remember the rule of thumb: The buyer comes first.
More Resources on Omnichannel Marketing
You may like these other MarketingProfs articles related to Marketing Strategy:
- What Is Marketing Strategy? A Brief Introduction
- Market Research for B2B Marketing Success: Jim Longo on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]
- What Six Popular Colors Convey in Marketing [Infographic]
- The Role of Data in B2B Go-To-Market Strategies
- Four Steps Marketers Can Take to Drive Growth During a Recession
- The Most Important Elements of a B2B Multichannel Strategy